Action, Fantasy, Thriller
Directed by //
Mans Marlind, Bjorn Stein
Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy
Running Time //
UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING | FILM REVIEW
by Alan Young
The next instalment of the 'Underworld' films has hit British cinemas and this time in 3D. I wasn't sure what to expect from a plot point of view in this edition of the vampire and werewolf fantasy. After the rather unnecessary prequel 'Underworld: Rise of the Lycans' I was unsure what they would try and develop from a character stand point or if it would just be an opportunity to see Kate Beckinsale running about in PVC as the 'Death Dealer' Selene. I must point out; actor Seth Rogan (see Golden Globes clip), wouldn't be complaining if that was all they hoped to achieve.
The story picks up from where the first and second parts left us. To start off we get an effectively put together recap to get everyone back up to speed, given it has been just less than 6 years since Underworld: Evolution was released, this was a good idea. From there we burst into a news story, headlining the discovery of non-humans on Earth. The Humans, fearing the existence of the Vampires and Lycans, begin the cleansing of both species. Killing all they can except for Selene and Michael Corvin who they capture for scientific testing.
I was surprised at how well they have managed to develop the characters. Beckinsale is really comfortable with the character now, showing the evolution of Selene, as she matures becoming more confident in her abilities. Now that the story of the Lycans and Vampires has been solidly established; it's time to introduce some new characters to the mix. India Eisley makes a fantastic first impression as Eve. Thrust into a difficult role, going from the scared innocent child wanting affection from her parents to being a fierce creature able to rip the heads off her enemies.
While achieving the introduction of new characters in to the mix; they have returned to the feel of the first film. There is a slightly more sci-fi feeling as opposed to just fantasy, with the attempts to genetically modify the creatures. It has a post war feel about it, with the rebuilding of communities and scientific testing attempting to create supreme-beings.
I must say at this point that I am not sold on 3D for many reasons. Firstly it costs more and requires me to wear another pair of specks (Specky 4 eyes was bad enough, but 6!). As well as that, generally after viewing a film in 3D I leave with a headache, whether it's the screen hurting my eyes or the thought that I've sat with the specks on for absolutely nothing. I'm not sure why some films that have a vast land of opportunity for 3D effects simply disappoint. Most recently the Green Lantern and Captain America films spring to mind.
Anyway beyond my normal distain for 3D I have to say the action scenes in this film are fantastic! They are fluid, impactful and relevant to the story line. Some of the strikes are vicious and are truly a joy to watch. The 3D effects in this film are Superb, during some of the explosions you will feel like the detritus is about to hit you in the face. Another great moment that occurs is when Selene is throwing her razor type weapons I genuinely moved my head to the side evasively.
The Underworld films need to be watched with an open mind. We watch fantasy films to escape from everyday life and thus they can't be taken too seriously. 'Awakening' is no different, it's an interesting story, executed well. As far as Vampire stories go it definitely puts the pathetic 'Twilight' series in its place. If you're still undecided I'll put it like this; if you enjoyed the original films then you will enjoy this. If you haven't seen the others you could watch this alone, however I would recommend seeing the other parts beforehand. If you didn't enjoy the original then don't watch this, there's nothing that will change your mind. Finally if there's some irrational reason you don't love watching Kate Beckinsale in action then I wouldn't bother.